As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"


Chapter Lengths Do Matter

I have often heard the question by new authors, "How do you know when to start a new chapter?" Or "How long should a chapter be?" Or variations thereof whether at conferences, on-line or face-to-face (yes, authors do occasionally leave their writing niches for 'live' human contact.)
The answers are seemingly as varied as those answering the question. So, here are my few cents worth (Those that have read or will read my work in the future can watch for these.)
#1 - In my opinion, there is no such thing as a chapter that is too short, as long as it contains a complete scene - I've read one that was less than a page. Although I love writing and verbalizing a bit too much to accomplish this feat of excellence.
#2 - I personally like to have a chapter run about ten pages but I've read one or two that were closer to thirty.
#3 - Since most readers assume that a chapter break is the best place to put a book down, the author is facing the dreaded loss of interest by the reader. So as Jack M. Bickham says in his book, Scene and Structure, " always end them(the chapter) at a point where the reader can't put the book down." So, the simplest way to avoid the dreaded 'lay down'  is with a carefully crafted 'hook.'
#4 - Generally speaking, your chapters in a specific work should be relatively similar, but don't be afraid to step outside the box if the plot benefits from it.
#5 - IMHO, A chapter needs to have a chapter goal, whether stated or inferred, usually only one point of view or viewpoint, and ends in a jarring disaster.
Note: The jarring disaster is not the same as your story climax.
Now, before you etch these guidelines in stone and thereafter set the stones in cement, remember that every guideline is simply that, a guideline and at times, to keep your reader involved, needs to be broken. Don't break the rule or guideline just because you're feeling lazy or can't figure out how to make it work. Remember that writing is work and you better be doing it for the love affair with the writing craft, not the perceived accolade or cash at the end of the proverbial rainbow. Just like in real life, where there is rarely a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, so it is with writing and if everyone could do it, we would all be authors and not readers.
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